Who Is Jake Johnson's Wife? All About Erin Payne

Jake Johnson and Erin Payne have been married since 2005

JB Lacroix/WireImage
JB Lacroix/WireImage

Jake Johnson may have had his ups and downs in love as Nick Miller on New Girl, but in real life, Johnson has been in a successful marriage with Erin Payne since 2005.

The couple are notoriously private, and very little is known about the early stages of their relationship. In fact, when pressed about details and the timeline of their marriage, Johnson told Glamour in 2013, "My business is personal!"

He did, however, share his perspective on whether it's more important to find "the right girl" or get married at "the right time."

"I think it's the right girl. I think you can meet the right girl at the wrong time, and it gets screwed up," Johnson told the magazine. "If you meet the right girl at the wrong time, that girl has to be the most understanding person in the world because there's going to be a lot more bumps in the road."

The comic actor continued, "And, hey, it might be the right time for the guy and not for the girl, but if it's not the right time for one of them, and the other one tries to control that, it's not gonna have a happy ending. Both people have to be ready, and they might not think they're ready ... that's why I think it's the right girl first."

Having welcomed two kids with Payne and boasting more than 15 years of marriage, Johnson seemingly found just that.

So, who is Jake Johnson's wife? Here's everything to know about Erin Payne and her relationship with the Minx star.

She's from California

<p>Rob Latour/Variety/Penske Media/Getty</p> Erin Payne, Jake Johnson.

Rob Latour/Variety/Penske Media/Getty

Erin Payne, Jake Johnson.

Miles from Johnson's hometown of Evanston, Illinois, Payne was born in San Diego in 1971.

According to her official portfolio and LinkedIn, Payne graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2002 with a bachelor of fine arts degree in painting and drawing. She also earned a master of fine arts in 2011 from Claremont Graduate University in California.

She's an artist

Payne is an award-winning artist and the 2012 recipient of the New American Paintings Reader's Choice Prize. Her work has appeared in showcases and exhibitions like the Los Angeles Contemporary and OBJCT Gallery.

She and Johnson got married in 2005

<p>Rob Latour/Variety/Penske Media/Getty</p> Erin Payne and Jake Johnson.

Rob Latour/Variety/Penske Media/Getty

Erin Payne and Jake Johnson.

After three years of dating, Johnson and Payne tied the knot in 2005. The couple never confirmed their official wedding date; however, in a 2012 interview with Marie Claire, Johnson revealed that he was "happily married" and had been with his wife "for seven years" at the time.

Though Johnson has remained pretty tight-lipped about his relationship with Payne, he subtly praised her in a 2014 interview with Variance.

"I love to act, but I didn't get into the business to be a huge celebrity," Johnson told the magazine, "Of course, I'll be out to eat with friends, and a woman might come up to the table and have nice things to say. It's cool. But I didn't get into acting for that. And I'm married. I know that's tricky in Hollywood, but I'm not going to give up my wife so I can have more of what someone perceives as success. I love two things: my wife and my job. And although I love my job, I'm a happier person because I have my wife."

She shares twin daughters with Johnson

Emma McIntyre/Getty
Emma McIntyre/Getty

Johnson and Payne welcomed twin daughters, Elizabeth and Olivia, in 2014.

During a 2020 appearance on The Kelly Clarkson Show, Johnson spoke about his role in the kitchen at home.

"Cooking meals for kids is such a thankless gig," joked Johnson, "I'll make something that is really solid, and their response after a bite will be, 'I'll take cereal instead.' "

He shared that the couple had taken inspiration from popular TV cooking competitions when trying to drum up excitement at mealtime.

"When I present them the food, they are judges on a cooking show," said Johnson, "They'll say like, 'I like the texture, but I don't love the cheese on the quesadilla,' and I'll be like, 'thank you, Judge.' "

Her artwork was featured in Johnson's New Girl character's bedroom

In 2018, Johnson shared a fun fact about the artwork that hung on the walls of his New Girl character Nick Miller's bedroom.

"My wife, in real life, did those drawings, so I took those back," he told Fan Fest of the props he kept following the series finale.

New Girl is not her only credit in Hollywood. Payne's work has also been featured in The Lovely Bones (2009), The Other Guys (2010), Sex and the City 2 (2010), The Last Airbender (2010), Shutter Island (2010) and more.

She inspired (and advised) Johnson on his movie Digging for Fire

<p>Richard Shotwell/Variety/Penske Media/Getty</p> Jake Johnson and Erin Payne.

Richard Shotwell/Variety/Penske Media/Getty

Jake Johnson and Erin Payne.

The 2015 comedy Digging for Fire, starring Johnson and Rosemarie DeWitt, follows the story of a married couple who find a gun and a bone in the backyard of their home. The film, co-written by Johnson, was inspired by a real experience Johnson shared with Payne.

The couple rented a house, and upon finding the dug-up gun and bone, they spent the following weeks digging up various objects from the yard before reburying them.

Johnson spoke about Payne's unique involvement in the film.

" 'Not only do I hate your character, but I hate this movie,' " Johnson told The Mary Sue of his wife's original thoughts on early drafts of the script.

As the story goes, Johnson returned to the writer's room with that feedback and developed a new script featuring a strong female lead that undoubtedly pleased Payne.

She doesn't drink

While doing press for 2013's Drinking Buddies, Johnson spoke about the social dynamics of his relationship, sharing advice for couples with opposite party styles.

"Listen, my wife doesn't drink," Johnson told Glamour. "I don't think a girl's desire to drink or not has any effect on guys. At all. I don't think a girl's party attitude or non-party attitude — most guys I know, we all have a group of guys we party with. And we party together for a long time. When I get together with my male party guys, we party. My wife doesn't come with us. She's invited, but she has no interest. I don't need her there. It's not like my wife and I are going to do keg stands together."

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